You may not know what open pores are. You may know them as ‘uneven skin’, ‘age spots’, ‘holes on the face’. These can also give rise to smile lines or nasolabial folds. As a Skin Specialist, we often come across patients who are looking for cure of open pores on their face. There is no such dermatological term as “open pores” or there is no standard text book that names open pores as a disorder. Open pores give a dull and irregular appearance to the face since the light rays are reflected unequally from uneven surface of skin having open pores. The below blog will enable you to understand how to identify open pores, why are open pores formed, and what can be done to close open pores.
All of us have pores on the skin. These are oil gland openings; when these openings get abnormally dilated, they are referred to as ‘open pores’. Open pores present as small pit like regions, giving a dimpled look to your skin similar to an orange peel thereby giving a dull, irregular, and aged appearance to the face.
Open pores are mostly seen on the nose and adjacent cheeks (malar area). In individuals with oily skin, they may be observed on outer part of cheeks & forehead, too.
Remember, they are not the same as larger pits and craters of acne scars. It might be a possibility that you have an oily skin with black/white heads and may be susceptible to outbreaks of pimples.
How are they formed?
Open pores generally commence at the time of puberty; as a result of increased oil secretion from sebaceous/oil glands, which occurs as a result of stimulation of androgen hormone. As an end result these sebaceous glands openings get blocked with dead skin cells & debris. This restricts the flow of increased oil resulting in distension of their opening which is seen as open pores.
Age spots may be caused by skin aging, sun exposure, or other forms of ultraviolet light exposure, such as tanning beds. You are most likely to develop age spots on the areas of your skin that receive the most sun exposure.
How to get rid of the open pores?
There are various treatment options available so as to get rid of open pores. However, there is no concrete evidence to prove the efficacy and response rate.
Following are the different treatments:
- Retinoids: Oral and topical retinoids (skin creams) lead to lessening of open pores & oil secretions; but they are available only under prescription only.
- Salicylic acid: Beta-hydroxy acid like salicylic can soak into the sebaceous duct opening and keratin plug is removed; in turn help in diminishing open pores. Many over-the-counter toners & face washes containing salicylic acid are available in market. These should be used in people who have oily skin. One of the best ways to keep a check on oil secretions & reduce open pores, fortnightly salicylic acid peels can be used. Sensitive and dry skin types might not tolerate salicylic acid.
- Lasers: Certain lasers (viz. Fractional CO2 laser, Nd YAG Laser) may prove to be beneficial to diminish open pores. These lasers induce collagen remodelling and have been used effectively in reducing bigger pits and craters on skin caused by acne scars however its efficacy in open pores is still to be explored.
- Derma-rollers: These might assist in decreasing open pores by collagen remodelling, but are less effective than LASERS.
- TCA CROSS Chemical Peels: It is a simple but effective method to reduce open pores; however it has downtime of 7-10 days. The procedure consists of application of tri-chloro-acetic acid on the wall of open pores using a tooth pick resulting in formation of black scabs on each of treated pores which fall off in 7-10 days. It provides good outcomes with 30-50% reduction in the pore size. If need be, repeated sessions of treatment may be carried out.
- Microdermabrasion: This procedure helps peeling off the outermost skin layer by abrading the blackheads. The residual dirt and hardened oil from the pores, is then pulled out by suction. Microdermabrasion also encourages collagen remodelling which leads to increased skin elasticity, as a result of which the pores remain tight. When the natural oil is reached the surface of skin, the pores get back to their original shape and size since there is nothing left stuck inside that can cause the pores to enlarge.
In summary, open pores are formed as a result of poor skin hygiene or excess sebum production that can result in sebum and dirt collecting around the edges of pores, thereby producing the visual illusion that they are larger than they really are and blackheads (or clogged pores) tend to expand pores, drawing attention to them. There are different means of treatment such as use of salicylic acid, retinoids, chemical peels, Microdermabrasion, Fractional CO2 laser treatments etc. which may lead to collagen remodelling and cause reduction in open pores, thus giving a smoother appearance to your facial skin.
Dr. Rinky Kapoor is a top/ Best dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Laser Skin Expert Doctor, currently based in Mumbai, India. She has won many awards as the Best Dermatologist in India, Top 10 Skin Doctor in India, etc. She specializes in all skin diseases & conditions and given her training as a dermato-surgeon, provides non surgical liposuction surgery, laser lipo & lipoplasty etc for weight reduction & cellulite reduction. Dr. Rinky Kapoor is trained at the iconic National Skin Centre, Singapore and completed her Fellowship in Cosmetic Dermatology & Lasers at the world renowned Stanford University, USA.